Spring Tournament: New Event for Parents!

Rohai Dojo’s Spring Tournament (which this year takes place the day before Spring, on Saturday, March 19) has always had a special division for Family Team Kata (parents and kids performing kata together). In the past, though, it has only been open to parents who train in karate. This year, for the first time, we welcome ANY parent who wants to compete alongside their child or children to enter a special division. Come in for a few classes to learn a basic kata from your child’s instructor – or work with your child to create a kata, and come in to get some expert coaching in the lead-up to the event. Families at Rohai Dojo are invited to attend the Wednesday 6 p.m. Family Class to practice together, if they cannot attend together at other times.

At Redwood Dojo, Sensei Didi will be coaching family kata during the Saturday Morning class on March 12, and/or at other times arranged by interested families. Saturday morning class meets outdoors, so dress warmly and wear waterproof shoes! As of today, the weather forecast predicts that it will not rain before noon on Saturday, so all should be well. However, if we do get rained out, family team kata groups should attend anyway, and we’ll find somewhere we can sneak inside and practice quietly.

Try it, parents! This is going to be fun.

If you have not yet registered for the tournament, or did not receive a flyer or hear announcements during class, please visit the Rohai Dojo website for complete information. https://rohaidojo.com/2016/02/22/twentieth-annual-kata-tournament/

You may also click HERE to register online. Note that more than one family member can be signed up with a single transaction; to do this, click the “sign up a friend” button after entering the information for the first registrant.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Sensei Didi at redwoodojo[at]earthlink.net.

PLEASE NOTE: There will be no Saturday Class at Redwood Dojo on March 19, as we will all be at the Tournament. See you there!


Train for Berkeley’s Spring Tournament

Rohai Dojo’s annual Kata Tournament is coming up soon – on Saturday, March 15th. In case you didn’t receive a flyer and registration form in class last week, it’s now possible to download them from Rohai’s website at this link:

The Spring Tournament is Coming

They’re also offering an online registration and payment option this year. That should make it easier to get registered before the late fee kicks in on March 5th! Visit their website and follow the links to use this option.

We’ve been practicing “tournament style” in some classes, and hopefully students of all ages and ranks will be inspired to train to a new level. That, after all, is the point: trying to be the best we can be!

Let Sensei Didi know if you have any questions about the tournament, registration and payment… or anything else concerning your or your child’s training.

Autumn Events, Recent and Future

West Coast Training Camp 2011 was the biggest yet, and if sweat and blisters are any indication, it was a success. Instructors and students came from as far away as Jacksonville, Florida and Morristown, Tennessee, as well as Seattle, Washington and our southern neighbor, San Diego. Special thanks to Sensei Darius Jones, who flew out a day early from Clemson, South Carolina, and made a surprise visit to the Redwood Dojo kids’ classes.
If you attended WCTC, please share some of what you learned with your classmates who weren’t able to attend, and encourage them to attend next year: same time, same place.

Tests and belts aren’t important… As much as we remind people that rank is not important – the important thing is to train hard and persevere – it’s still gratifying to see one’s progress recognized with a belt promotion. And it’s gratifying to an instructor to see large groups of students mastering the material and progressing through the ranks together. With all the recent testing, it’s clear Redwood Dojo is going strong. Of special note: we now have eight adults and teens at two black stripe level, training together for black belt. This is no small achievement; it takes many years of hard work to achieve that rank in Cuong Nhu. There’s more hard work ahead – but it’s made easier by the teamwork and camaraderie of the group, and the support of every member of the dojo.

The November Open Workout for adults coming up. November 1st is the first Tuesday; start off the month with a great workout. Come and bring a friend (age 18 and up) to train with us from 7 to 8 p.m. Wear loose, comfortable workout clothes (we train in bare feet). No experience is necessary, but if you have some previous training, that’s fine, too. You can pre-register here for the Open Workout, and please let us know if you have any questions.

December Spar Wars. Rohai Dojo’s annual sparring tournament, Spar Wars, will be here soon – Saturday, December 10th. It’s an excellent opportunity for green belts and above to test their free-sparring skills in friendly competition. In addition, purple belts and above, all ages, are eligible to take part in padded sword sparring. Mark your calendar, and stay tuned for more details and registration info.

$25 for a couple minutes of competition?

The schedule for tomorrow’s events is here.

Money is tight for everyone these days, and when I handed out flyers a few weeks ago for our sister school’s annual Kata Competition, I understood that some folks would opt out on financial grounds. Completely understandable – and come to think of it, the lessons you teach your kids about responsible budgeting are absolutely vital.

I’m a martial arts instructor, though; so the topic of this post is the value of participation – or, what you get for your money when you take part in a competition.

I happened to overhear a parent in the hallway exclaiming, “What! Twenty-five dollars for one kata?” I was busy teaching class at the time, but a part of my mind wandered back to my own past tournament experience (back in prehistoric times) – how, after completing a kata and receiving my scores in 2 minutes or less, it could seem like a lot of build-up for very little action.

But of course, if you think the 1 or 2 minutes on the floor, or the 3-minute round of sparring, is what it’s all about, you are forgetting the hours of preparation beforehand, the extra practice, the stepping up of effort, the camaraderie and mutual support of participating with your dojo-mates, the chance to see and learn from others who get up to perform, the struggle with (and overcoming of) fear or stage-fright, the inspiration of seeing the older or higher-ranked students perform; or, if you are one of those older students, the chance to appreciate how far you’ve come and what a role model you are for the younger kids.

There’s a lot more to it than two short minutes of action.

As for the preparation beforehand, at Redwood Dojo the whole class benefits, because we all do some tournament-style practice during the lead-up to the event. But it’s easy for me to see the students who really mean it; their effort gets a visible boost. They know they are going to be putting themselves on the line in front of judges; they really want to do their best (and maybe win!). These students step it up, and the benefits long outlast the tournament.

Just for fun, let’s revisit that $25 entry fee – fairly typical for this kind of event. I notice it’s only $5 more to add an event. As instructors, we love it when students compete in multiple events. It means more engagement, more training, more excitement about martial arts. A competitor could conceivably perform in three events for $35 – making it just under $12 per event. That’s getting down pretty close to the cost of the trophies – which, by the way, must be bought and paid for in advance, before all participants have registered. These small, local tournaments aren’t money-makers. The organizers work hard to put them on for the benefit of the students. If there’s some profit at the end to help keep the school running, so much the better!

Back in my day, tournament participation was required. I didn’t always like it, but I learned valuable lessons that I’d now like to pass on to my students. At Redwood Dojo, participation in tournaments is entirely optional. But I do hope every student – and parent – will appreciate the value of participation, and at some point give it a try.

View the Tournament Schedule Here

A tentative schedule of events for the annual Rohai Dojo Kata Tournament is now available; click here. Also, if you don’t have a copy of the original flyer with the address and phone number for Rohai Dojo, go to our earlier post to download a copy.

The tournament will begin at approximately 10:00 am, with brown and black belt adults competing first. All competitors should arrive in time to warm up and watch the early divisions compete. Some off-street parking is available, but the lot will probably fill up fast.

Please observe good etiquette when visiting another dojo! Bow upon entering, and immediately remove your shoes and place them in the shoe rack. Please refrain from touching or playing with equipment you may see around the dojo.

Rohai Dojo has a mat area that is available to competitors to warm up and practice quietly while events are proceeding on the floor. This area is for practice only, and not for play. Only competitors – no visitors, spectators or other family members – are allowed on the mats.

Kids, please make sure your parents, brothers and sisters all know about proper behavior in a dojo. It might be a good idea to have a discussion with them over dinner tonight, and make sure to answer all their questions. If you’re not sure about something, submit the question here!

It looks like we’ll have a pretty good turnout from Redwood Dojo. Good luck, everyone! I look forward to seeing you all do your best.